Skip to main content

Disability Benefit Reform

Plans to reassess disability benefit recipients for a new benefit will have knock-on effects for boroughs

  • By London Councils

Summary

In 2013, the government began to implement its policy of replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – its main benefit for helping disabled people deal with the extra costs they face – with a new scheme, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This reassessment could significantly affect not just the amount of benefit that people with disabilities receive, but also some of the many services they receive from councils.

This extended briefing aims to help councils get ready for this reform.

Download the full briefing: Disability Benefit Reform

Findings

London Councils has identified more than 30 services that could potentially be affected by differences in the way that DLA and PIP act as ‘passports’ to council-administered benefits and service. These include eligibility for Blue Badges and Freedom Passes.

In addition, there are potential knock-on effects for households currently exempt from the benefit cap due to a DLA award.

The briefing also estimates the number of individuals currently eligible for mobility-related benefits as a result of their DLA award made primarily for a mental or cognitive condition, who may no longer be eligible once reassessed for PIP.

Recommendations

Boroughs:

  • Will want to consider the types of group that may lose out on automatic eligibility for benefits such as Blue Badges and Freedom Passes and what arrangements need to be put in place for assessing eligibility through other routes.
  • Potentially face a significant burden in the form of reassessing those who lose automatic eligibility to benefits such as a Blue Badge but who may still be eligible via other routes.
  • Will also want to thoroughly review where and how receipt of a DLA award is used as an indicator of disability and informs service provision and consider the implications of the change to PIP.
  • Should consider what provision will be put in place for DLA recipients who turn 16 and must change their claim to one for PIP. Waiting times for decisions on PIP claims are currently significant.
  • Should consider whether and how to take account of the cumulative effect of the loss of both direct financial and passported benefits on current DLA claimants.
  • Should consider what information or evidence they might collect to detect whether the replacement of DLA with PIP is having knock-on effects for other service areas such as adult social care or housing.

Government:

  • Should treat the costs of any extra assessment that falls on boroughs as a new burden and fund it accordingly.

Download the full briefing: Disability Benefit Reform